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Around the world in 80 days writer

This was the first Jules Verne book I read. I carried it home in a heavy school bag, in the darkness after an winter afternoon in the public library.

I was ten, and I had to fill my long evenings, which started at sun set around half past two. I still remember the smell of the book, picked from the "Classics for children" section, and how I opened it "Mum, could we travel the world in the same way that Phileas Fogg and Passepartout did?

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I still remember the smell of the book, picked from the "Classics for children" section, and how I opened it and started reading. I knew almost nothing of Victorian England, of travelling to exotic countries, of the honour connected to a wager, of foul play or of religious customs in other cultures or of nature's peculiarities in different geographical areas.

  • His father was outraged when he heard that Jules was not going to continue law and discontinued the money he was giving him to pay for his expenses in Paris;
  • Perhaps so; nothing but a charming woman, who, strange as it may appear, made him the happiest of men!
  • The main message of the book is that only by benefiting directly from the experience of elders, can man begin to escape the cycle and hence achieve true wisdom;
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea - 1870 recounts a submarine with Captain Nemo as the enigmatic hero;
  • Around the World in Eighty Days won Jules Verne worldwide renown, and was a fantastic success for the times, selling 108,000 copies, with translations into English , Russian , Italian , and Spanish as soon as it was published;
  • But, the same average man might not be able to recall the actual books where these predictions were made and would know very little about the writer himself.

According to my memory, I finished the story that same evening, and went back to the library the very next day to check out the entire stock of Jules Verne. I might be wrong, knowing the strange turns memory takes when something is considered of special importance. It might have been two or three days later.

ADDITIONAL MEDIA

It is a fact, though, that I read all of his novels that dark winter, one after the other, completely enthralled, completely lost in the storytelling. And as fast as I was captured, I was released again. I had that Jules Verne spell, I loved it, but I never looked back. Jules Verne made me realise the potential of books, helped me open the treasure chest of world literature, and he served as a bridge to ever bigger journeys around the literary world.

I like to imagine that my journey around Jules Verne's universe took about 80 reading sessions, and that I returned the books to the library so much more enthusiastic about the world of reading that I was ready for my life as a reader.

Afterwards I instinctively felt that those books should remain in my childhood, that I might find things in them I would find ludicrous or horrible now.

  • The subject is not always exploration and scientific innovation as it was before, but is more often tourism; the mood is more pessimistic, ironical, or bitter;
  • His marriage was not totally happy; and he seems to have had mistresses;
  • In contrast, the 1863 - Five Weeks in a Balloon conducts its heroes across the still unexplored areas in Central Asia, while playing games with the dates of real exploration, and also with those of its own publication.

But the initiation rite of reading Verne when I was an impressionable ten-year-old will always be a memory of great importance to me. And of course I enjoy each minute my children spend with Jules Verne. More routined globetrotters than I was, they ask different questions, and reflect more on the radically changed technology and knowledge since the time of Phileas Fogg, whereas I had difficulties understanding the cultural codes in the world - which my children recognise directly from long experience in international schools.

Around the World in Eighty Days

The main plot remains exciting, and the cheesy conclusion is as rewarding as any modern "happy end" could be: What had he really gained by all this trouble? What had he brought back from this long and weary journey?

Perhaps so; nothing but a charming woman, who, strange as it may appear, made him the happiest of men! Truly, would you not for less than that make the tour around the world?

  • In the course of the adventure, Fogg spends or gives away the equivalent of his eventual winnings;
  • The Mysterious Island 1874 represents the culmination of many long maturing Vernian ideas.

Luckily, we still have the option to travel with Fogg and Passepartout!